MOLALLA, Ore. -- A 10-year-old Molalla girl returning home from a friend's house Saturday evening was chased by a man who had been hiding in some bushes, deputies said.

The girl told police she was pushing her bike home when she saw the man in the bushes, apparently masturbating, said Sgt. Dan Kraus of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. It happened in a rural area, near Acer Lane and Rosewood Way.

The man began chasing her and lunged at her, Kraus said. The girl rode away on her bike toward her house. The suspect grabbed the girl's foot, but she was able to get away.

The girl made it home and told her mother, who called police immediately.

The reality of what happened it just starting to set in. I realized I could have lost my daughter, said the girl's mother, Kathleen Rodgerson. When she came home, her shoes were untied where he tried to grab her. If he would've gotten her off the bike, I might never have seen her again.

She said her daughter was up most of the night, wondering if the man would try to get her again.

This man has taken something away from my daughter we can t get back: her trust, Rodgerson said. But she also knows it could have been much worse.

This is the best Mother's Day ever, she said. It's heaven-sent, because my baby was almost taken from me.

The suspect was described as Latino, 40 to 50 years old with a big mustache. He was wearing jeans, boots, and a dark baseball cap.

He is possibly associated with an older red van that has been spotted in the area recently, Kraus said. Anyone with information on the suspect, the van or the incident was asked to call the CCSO confidential tip line at 503-723-4949 or submit a tip via email here.

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